EDU270 – Lesson 4: …to be relational as a teacher?

One of my favorite movies is “To Sir with Love”.  In this movie, Engineer Mark Thackeray arrives to teach a totally undisciplined class at an East End school…He starts implementing his own brand of classroom discipline: forcing the pupils to treat each other with respect. Inevitably he begins getting involved in the students’ personal lives, and must avoid the advances of an amorous student while winning over the class.

Sir

I cry every time I see this movie because I love the relationships he develops as their teacher.  When I decided to teach, this movie came to mind several times.  I could see myself coming into a tough school situation and winning the hearts and minds of the students with a goal of improving their lives – not just academically, but all around.  It’s a tall order – but one of the most important jobs you could have.

It means the world to me to be relational with my students.  I work to have their trust and confidence while fostering their growth and development.  Yes, it is entirely possible to do this and still hold them accountable to stay on task and do what it takes to learn.  Not only do they need relationship, they need structure and guidance too.

While I’m no Sir…I love it when my students say, “Ms. Lyons…?”

Photo Credit:  IMDB “To Sir with Love” 1967

 

P3 – Pain, Passion, and Purpose

I wrote this post in November of 2015 in another education blog.  I decided to close that blog and only use this one.  I wanted to keep this, so I transferred it.

On the first day of school (my second year teaching), I told the students that the picture on the wall of the lion roaring at the butterflies was symbolic to our classroom.   I stated, ” There will be times when I roar like a lion, but only to get you to transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly.” I could tell that some of the students really had to process what I was saying. Others got it right away!  This is when I realized how passionate I had become about being in the classroom and teaching.

My students mean so much to me. At the end of my first year (May, 2015), I cried during the 8th grade promotion ceremony. I couldn’t help it. The song they walked to was that sad song played at the end of the most recent Fast and Furious movie where they pay homage to Paul Walker (the actor who died in the car crash). I love the Fast and Furious franchise because my son and I watched every movie as he grew up from 5 to 18 years old. Those movies created even more of a bond between my son and I.

“…How could we not talk about family when family’s all that we got?  Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gonna be with me for the last ride.  So let the light guide your way hold every memory as you go and every road you take will always lead you home…”

Those words in the song made me tear up even more. Where will they go? How will their lives turn out? I have been their classroom ‘momma’ for a year. The other teachers laughed at me. They told me I was a newbie and there would be many more students to come. Yet, my heart ached for those students. My first students – I called them ‘my babies’.

Why was I so attached?  Well, I saw myself in them. I remember being that age and experiencing so much pain and uncertainty. I could see so much in their eyes. I wanted them to read and have experiences through literature that would expand their world, but they were simply in survival mode. We expect so much from this generation, yet life is dealing them some heavy blows.

As a teacher, all you can do is:

  • feel their pain and press through daily to create a safe environment that fosters learning
  • with passion – find ways to engage your students as they are distracted so easily
  • walk with purpose in getting them to the next level as an educator

Above all else, this is my mission as a TEACHER!